Friday, July 2, 2010

Road Trip: Hay House Macon, GA

The first week of June, I went on a business trip to Macon, GA where the group was given a tour of the Hay House.

In 1859, William Butler Johnston finished building this Italian Renaissance Revival home after traveling through Europe on honeymoon with his wife Anne Clark Tracy who was 20 years his junior.

The house was built with Hot and Cold running water as well as a heating and venting system. It also had a speaker (tube) system (remember the old airplane headphones--tubes) and indoor bathrooms.

The day we went, all the windows were closed not allowing the venting system to work and it was at least 115 degrees.

Johnson's daughter Mary Ellen and her husband William H. Felton lived in the house starting in 1986. They added electricity and updated some of the plumbing. And as any daughter would do...redecorated what her parents had done.

(front porch. Is porch the correct term for a house this grand)

In 1926, the house was sold to Parks Lee Hay by the Felton heirs. Hay was the founder of the Banker's Health & Life Insurance Company. Oh course Hay......redecorated. On the inside I could really point out the 20's hand cast subway tile in the fireplaces that had been updated as well as in the bathroom. The bathroom fixtures were very 1920's as well as top of the line of the time. The Hay's also painted over much of the wood work. EEEK....

(front door detail)

( I am a sucker for S-Scrolls)

This detail was the tile on the back patio area.

Front porch floor detail. Marble. The center section was alabaster and light would shine from below.

The basement/ground level was the kitchen, a huge hanging pantry(shelves did not touch the floor), the office, a tacky gift shop and a display area which was once as Felton's office. The wind tunnel which kept the home cool was also in this area.

The main floor was a parlor, a ballroom, a main hall, a dining room, a sitting room and a bedroom that was closed. The dining room was under restoration and I wanted to ask the restorers a hundred questions, but in 120 degree heat.... I didn't.

The second floor housed the bedrooms and bathrooms for the family. What I found most interesting on this level were the floors, a narrow heart pine had been nailed on top of the wide board original floors. You could see every nail.

The third floor or fourth floor depends on how you are counting was where the guest bedroom were located. All the windows were these little circle windows, and the ceilings were lower. Most of this was used as storage and needed a good bit of work. It was 125 degrees on this floor.

A few of us climbed the cupola all the way to the top. I had on heels.

but it was worth it

Even if inside the cupola it was 130 degrees.

We could not take pictures inside the home. But you can see a few here.
We also had a very un-energetic tour guide. She did not want to be there. You had to pry information out of her. She did not understand why I ask about the shallow closets that were built for the interior shutters. Which was beyond cool detail, I may add.

I understand not wanting to open the windows and not installing AC in this National Landmark House. However if you are charging $20 a person for the tour......and it is an unusually hot June in middle Georgia...... The ceilings on the first floor were very high. In the ballroom, they were 30'H with windows at the top. Think of all the heat that would exit those windows. Just saying.


Peculiar Whimsy said...

that flooring is incredible!

Sandy said...

SO beautiful! Why would anyone want to paint over woodwork?!

Omar said...

Wow. Amazing house..

Laurendy said...

Tag you're it! Just tagged you on my recent post! (sorry!)

Anonymous said...

LOVe the architectural details and that tiled floor! you have a great eye for these things Jenni

Larry said...

I could live there....

My big brother was born in Macon and my family is from the area.

Holyoke Home said...

Those tile patters are totally inspirational!

nolan said...

I grew up in Macon and have visited the Hay House a few times, but not in years. Last time I was there (maybe 10 years ago?), I noticed cracked plaster and need for repair, particularly in the dining room, so I'm glad to hear they are doing some renovations.

My brother used to work there (volunteer? no idea...he was maybe 22 and so I was 9 or so, so my memory is fuzzy...I'll have to ask him about it) and help with some of the maintenance stuff. Doesn't it have a cistern or something underneath? That used to be on the tour but it may not be anymore. I remember it as kind of creepy and pretty cool (literally!). My brother says the lady who was managing it at the time was convinced it was haunted and I remember something about underground tunnels leading from the house, but I'm not sure if that really exists or if they were just looking for them.

I guess I never visited in the summer...I don't remember it having no a/c!

A grand old house and one of my favorites. Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your beautiful pictures. I am painting the Hay House for a friend who lives in Macon and I haven't seen it in person in 40 years, so your exterior details are a great help.

xavier said...

Une véritable chef d'oeuvre d'architecture

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OMG!absolutely amazing..=)

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WoW! That was absolutely wonderful.=D